View Full Version : Trouble with boots

1st February 2007, 11:48 PM
Quick question for the experienced trekkers/climbers out there:

I am interested in buying a pair of double plastic boots (Millet Everest, La Sportiva Mons, Scarpa 8000, etc.) for some climbing that I want to do this summer but am running into trouble. It is obviously easier and at times much cheaper to buy these types of boots online but you run the risk of buying the wrong size and losing money on the return or resale. Does anyone know of a good guide line in reference to size when purchasing boots? I wear a size 44 (10.5 US) in regular street shoes and 44.5 for my hiking boots. The hard thing is that I haven't found any shop around my area that carries these types of boots so I can't easily try any on to get the right size. I could kick myself because I had the chance in Thamel and didn't take advantage. I would buy out west when I go to climb but then I will not be able to break them in. Anyway...if anyone has any suggestions or knows any place in the NYC area that sells them I would greatly appreciate the help. Thanks!!


2nd February 2007, 02:34 AM
Hi Critter,

What sort of climbing are you planning on doing? Those are very serious boots. You'd really need to be doing something very cold to require them. In Nth America I could only imagine that you'd maybe want them for Denali, even then they are possibly a bit of an overkill.

As for buying them without trying them on, of course this is possible but I wouldn't recommend it.

Here's my various sizes:

normal shoe: 12 US
leather climbing boot (Raichle 90 Degree EXP): 13 US
Plastic Climbing Boot (Asolo AFS8000): 14 US

When I tried on Raichle's HA boot, whcih is in the same category as the ones you are talking about, the 13 US size was too tight (they didn't have any larger sizes available).

As you can see you'll most probably require at least one size up, but probably 2. Some of the manufacturers make half sizes so that complicates things even further.

Do you have any of those big REI or MEC shops nearby? I have heard that they are available pretty cheap in some of the Thamel shops (second hand), maybe you need to fly out to KTM and try some on. :D

2nd February 2007, 12:11 PM
As Spaceman says it really depends on what climbing you are proposing to do. Those boots are overkill for everything but 7000/8000m and winter multi day Alpinism. I wouldn't recommend any of them for 5000-7000m and 1 or 2 day alpine excursions, ice climbing or summer alpinism or what not.

As for sizes - I can't tell you about shops in NY - but you really need to try them on. It isn't just about the size it is also about the last the manufacturers use for each boot. Broadly speaking there are two main ones: Scarpa (slim fit) and La Sportiva (wide fit) - it is really important to know which last suits your feet. Poorly fitting boots equal a lot of heel lift and this will result in massive blisters on your heels. I found out to my cost how bad this can be having had to climb for 8 hours on steep ice once with no skin on either heel. Front pointing this way isn't nice!

The situation isn't quite so bad with double plastic boots as the inner moves around a bit but still fit is important. Many apline climbs involve trudging up endless scree and rock slopes to get to the snow line. Light weight is important on your feet. When I climb I wear trainers up to the snow line, with my boots in the sack and only put them on when necessary. I wouldn't want to ascend 800m of scree in Olympus Mons!

Anyway for fit I am UK size 10 street shoe, my walking boots are 11 (is that 44.5?) and I take 11.5/12 in Scarpa Cumbre (Size 46) and half a size down in Scrapa Vegas (Double plastics). The tip with double boots is your toes should be a thumbs width from the end of the inner boot. I need more room in leather moutaineering boots and less in double plastics. But I know my feet fit the scarpa last as I have been measured for it. Boots are worth paying the extra for as fit is very important especially if front pointing for a long time, it can be painful and imprecise if not.

Good luck...

2nd February 2007, 07:44 PM
Yes I agree, your boots are the most important of all, painful feet on a hiking/trek/climb is no fun.

I take a 7 Uk shoe, size 8 in normal walking boots, and my Scarpa Vegas are 9s, but i do find them really heavy. If you are walking in really cold conditions your toes will suffer from the cold more, if they are in boots that are too small and they cant move around a little. I always wear two pairs of socks when out walking, a liner sock and a walking sock, the thickness of my walking sock depends on the boot and time of year.

hope that helps!

3rd February 2007, 05:45 AM
Thanks for the replies!!!

As for the climbing: Denali is the plan right now along with Rainier but I definitely understand that these boots would be overkill for Rainier. But there is opportunity to buy these types of boots second hand for half the cost new and for about the same amount as a new pair of leather boots.

As far as in Thamel, they were selling the new Millet during the monsoon for about 550USD (800USD everywhere else) but I sort of got "cold feet" and didn't spend the money. Ultimately I want to venture back to Nepal for a 7000m - 8000m peak but wanted to buy a set of boots to break in before that time. I think that I might purchase a set of good leather boots that I can located around here (not as advanced as the double plastics) and wait until I get out to Alaska or Washington to look into the others. Any suggestions for leather boots? How good are the La Sportiva Nepal Evo Boots that I see advertised everywhere?

As for REI, we finally got one near me but they don't carry good quality mountaineering boots in the stores so you are not able to try them on. I will keep trying the stores based on your recommendations.

Thanks again for your help.


3rd February 2007, 06:07 AM
a set of boots to break in before

That's important. It wouldn't be a good idea to arrive in KTM knowing you'll get some bargain boots (you will) and expecting them to fit perfect right away (they wont). As is said above, boots are essential kit, take no chances, accept no compromise.

They do have some genuine brand name kit in Thamel for good prices but I do think it tends to be from the batch with the dodgy zip/stitching/whatever rather than the QA assured stuff you get for the full RRP in western stores. I have bought fleeces, boots, sleeping bags, tents, etc, with varying degrees of quality and discount. It's just that in Thamel you have to be that bit more careful about inspecting what you buy.

3rd February 2007, 07:20 AM
Critter see if you have an EMS store nearby. They usually carry at least one type of Plastic boot in store until the end of the season. They have a larger selection on line. You might even be able to order a selection of boots and sizes online and have them delivered to your local store. You will have to pay up front for all the boots you order, but at least you should be able to return them right then and there (confirm this by phone first).

3rd February 2007, 07:36 AM
Thanks James, I was actually thinking the same thing. After my last post I checked out REI and EMS (I am in EMS at least once a week) and REI had some interesting selections. I think I will ask the stores to order the ones that I want to try on. I actually did this at EMS with something else and they did not have a problem accommodating me so maybe REI will do the same. Thanks for the idea.


3rd February 2007, 10:25 AM
The biggest thing is to try on as many different brands as possible before making a decision. Escher gave me this same advice 6 months ago and he was right on. I tried on a bunch of different brands and never really liked the fit of any of them. I thought that maybe the big boots just don't fit that well and was very close to buying something when I came across Raichle boots which I'd never heard of before.

As soon as I pulled on the Raichle boots I immediately knew that they were MY boots. They fit me perfectly.

It can be really hard to try to get hold of enough to try on but it's really worth it. Instead of going out and buying something right now see if you can rent some more your first couple of trips which will:
a) give you a chance to try them out without having to commit to them,
b) buy you some more time to try out other brands.

Depending on where you are going climbing there may be a town nearby that rents gear.

I just checked and REI have a rental option here (http://www.rei.com/stores/rentals.html?x=0&storeId=8000&vcat=REI_SEARCH&y=0&orig=rent) although not all stores have mountaineering gear. Probably worth checking it out.

And to your specific question about the Nepal Evos, they are considered to be very good boots, IF they fit your feet. They don't suit my feet so I can't wear them but a lot of people do. You'd need plastic boots for Denali though. Everyone wears plastics on Denali (Scarpa Vega, Asolo AFS8000, Koflach Arctis Expe, Sportiva Spantik etc) it can get damn cold up there.

13th April 2007, 11:49 AM
I have a pair of "climbing boots" La Sportiva Makalu. Fantastic. Of course I don't do climbing, but I flew down the scree from Thorung La down to Muktinath, at pretty steep angles... It was marvellous, as I did not have to stick to the trail. The boots gave me a lot of confidence to just dig the heel in the scree and really power down at great speed. A lot of fun, and a lot less tiring than walking "normally". Once down near Muktinath, I reverted to the light boots.

14th April 2007, 03:49 AM
I meant to inform everyone that I have taken the advice of Escher et al and purchased a pair of Koflach plastic boots. I was able to find an EMS that carried several types of plastics that I could try on. Hopefully I will get a good chance to try them out this year on Mt Rainier and then Denali. I'll wait until I tackle the 8000m peaks to buy the One Sport/Olympus Mons style boots. Thanks again for everyone's opinions.


17th April 2007, 08:39 PM
When are you heading to rainier? We have requested a permit for late June.

18th April 2007, 01:14 AM
Not quite sure, I was thinking of the beginning of June but have not fully decided. I might get a chance to teach this summer which would limited my time but I definitely look to get out there. How many people are you all? What are your plans? Emmons? Kautz?


19th April 2007, 07:32 AM
WE have applied for a permit for late June. There is 3 or 4 of us. All very experienced except for me, the rookie. Waiting to hear what we get from the leader.